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TEAM

Our Foundation For Civic Leadership Team

Our foundation team is a dedicated group of individuals committed to making a positive impact. With diverse expertise and a shared passion for our mission, we work collaboratively to drive meaningful change.

IAN SIMMONS

President

Ian is the Founder and President of the Foundation for Civic Leadership, and Co-founder of Democracy House. He is dedicated to initiating projects that enhance democracy. Results of projects that Ian has catalyzed have been featured in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as on ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC. Ian serves on the boards of Freedom House, Issue One, Social Finance, and Scholars Strategy Network.

Sue Heilman

Interim Executive Director, Democracy House

Results-oriented non-profit executive with over 25 years experience leading and growing mission-based organizations. Significant proven talent developing strategies, creating and operating high quality programming, and working with individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy for support. Successfully leads public policy and advocacy campaigns at state and federal levels. Known for in-depth financial management skills. Expert in non-profit governance. Passionate advocate and consensus builder.

DANA GREEN

National Director of Advancement, Democracy House

With a background in military history and nonprofit governance, I’ve finally found a place to merge two of my life’s passions to make a difference for the greater good at Democracy House. As Democracy House’s National Director of Advancement, I’m responsible for sharing the power and excitement of Democracy House’s mission to empower the next generation to defend, strengthen, and improve democracy with as many people as possible.

Simon Thompson

Campaigns Director, Foundation for Civic Leadership

Hi! My name is Simon, and I am the Campaigns Director at the Foundation for Civic Leadership. I am a lifelong Mainer, and I am happy to provide restaurant recommendations or listen to your stories about summering here. When I’m not working to advance student voting policy or build civic engagement networks with FCL, you can likely find me running through the woods, writing autograph request letters to 1960s baseball players, or training my cat for the Olympics. I am always happy to chat about my work and to hear your ideas on how to make the world a better place.

Elizabeth

Manager, The Democracy Center

Elizabeth organizes her communities from the core belief that when we come together, identify our common goals, and act collectively we can win everything for everyone. At bottom, she believes democracy is about building power to practice self-governance and create the conditions for everyone to thrive. Her first organizing mentor was Gandalf, and she’ll talk about that for hours if you let her. She has dedicated the past 6+ years to making the Democracy Center in Harvard Sq a hub of resources, trainings, supplies, and space that support rising organizations and community members to take action to win power for their communities. Outside of work, she primarily organizes for prison abolition. When she shuts her laptop, she loves cooking for large groups, reading speculative fiction, making crafts from her substantial tshirt collection, and cultivating spiritual practices to support lifelong dedication to movement building.

SADIE POLEN

Director of Leadership Development Programs, Democracy House

As the Program Director for the Young Leaders Institute, Sadie is responsible for implementing, executing, and scaling the program, which helps prepare the next generation of leaders to strengthen American democracy. Sadie loves community - she studies them, lives in them, and works to build them, and she is a firm believer in the idea that two pervasive forces - community and education - are most effective when they work together. With over ten years in higher education, she has extensive experience directing public service programs where she creates and facilitates learning experiences, programs, and spaces that are dynamic, inclusive, and accessible. As Democracy House’s National Director of Advancement, I’m responsible for sharing the power and excitement of Democracy House’s mission to empower the next generation to defend, strengthen, and improve democracy with as many people as possible.

BROOKE MARSTON

Communications Manager, Democracy House

Brooke is Democracy House’s resident multitasker, playing a role in some of the organization’s core elements. A particularly eventful day might see her grabbing coffee with student fellows, engaging with local stakeholders on programming ideas, jumping onto a call to finalize the latest bit of language or graphic design, and drafting up the odd flyer or social media post before signing off. She is (so far) a lifelong New Hampshirite, earning her bachelor’s in Communication from the University of New Hampshire in 2021. As an undergrad, she took special interest in media studies, and particularly in investigating the relationships between new media, American politics, and social inequality. These interests drew her into Democracy House with a strong drive to ensure its programs and initiatives are widely accessible and adaptable in a constantly changing information environment. Outside of work, she enjoys a nearly-stressful amount of hobbies ranging from multimedia production and video games to crafting and creating new recipes.

Institutional Partnerships

Institutional partnerships have included:

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